By Abhimanyu Singh:
On Monday, 1st February, the RSS hit back at protesters who are alleging that its workers hit them while they were demonstrating outside the organisation’s headquarters in Delhi on Saturday, January 30th, against the injustice that caused Rohith Vemula’s suicide.
The call for protest was given by the All India Students Association (AISA), the student wing of the CPI-ML, among others, including the All India Students Federation (AISF), the student wing of the CPI. The students groups were purportedly protesting for justice for Rohith Vemula of the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) who was a student at the Hyderabad Central University till recently.
Following the protest, videos surfaced showing personnel of the Delhi police beating up students, including girls, in a brutal manner. The videos contain footage which shows people in civilian clothes hitting students.
“Our people had no role to play in the entire affair. The Delhi police would be in the best position to state who these civilians were. It appears that the protesters had broken through the barricades that had been placed 300 to 400 metres away from the entry. However, if any high-handedness has been demonstrated by the Delhi police, an investigation should be launched,” Tuli told me. He added that he had not seen any videos himself and did not see the need to do so.
Tuli also came down heavily on the student protesters for agitating outside the RSS office. “I don’t understand the need for confrontation. The RSS is nowhere in the picture. Why should they protest at the RSS’ doorstep?” asked a livid Tuli.
When I told him that the protesters believe Rohith was driven to commit suicide following a scuffle with the local unit of ABVP which is affiliated to the RSS, Tuli first interrogated me if I was speaking on behalf of the students who had assembled on Saturday. When assured that I was only doing my journalistic duty by posing questions on behalf of the student protesters, Tuli countered: “ABVP is an independent organisation. I don’t think the argument is valid. Should we hold CPI and CPM responsible for all actions of AISF and SFI (respectively)? This is absurd. They are using the issue to flare up the passions of the people.”
Tuli further claimed that what had occurred at Hyderabad Central University was a “murder by leftist ideology”. “He was a worker of SFI and ASA. If you read his suicide note, he says his soul and body were not in tandem. This means he was made to do things by his organisation which he did not want to do. This needs to be investigated,” demanded Tuli.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today hit out at Delhi Police alleging that it was being used as the RSS and BJP’s “private army” under a political dispensation that is at “war” with students across the country.
Kejriwal condemned police’s purported assault on protesters, including women, demonstrating over the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula near the RSS head office on January 30.
“Delhi Police being used by BJP/RSS as their private army to terrorize and teach lesson to anyone opposing BJP/RSS. I strongly condemn attack on students.”
“FTII, Rohith case, Hyderabad University, IITs and now brutal attack on Delhi students. Modi govt seems to be at war with students all across,” Kejriwal, who is undergoing naturopathy treatment at Bengaluru, tweeted.
Police today faced widespread criticism over a video clip that shows the alleged assault on the students by male police constables and some men who are not in uniform. The clip has gone viral on various social media sites.
In the short video clip, a constable is seen dragging a female protester by her hair and pushing her down. A youth is also seen being bashed.
Two journalists, who have alleged that they were beaten up and their cameras smashed while covering the protest, claimed that the police action was “unprovoked”.
The Delhi police is reportedly examining the videos before taking any action.
(With inputs from PTI)